Darrin Fisher admits without hesitation it was him, not his players, who required motivation following Whiteland’s 56-0 loss at Center Grove in Week 2.
It was, after all, the most lopsided loss ever absorbed by a Fisher-coached team in 23 years of coaching high school football.
“Our players probably helped us coaches — helped me, at least — to get back to work,” Fisher said. “It was difficult to bounce back after that, but our guys were able to reset their jaw and concentrate on the process of getting better.”
The Warriors have rebounded impressively, notching back-
to-back Mid-State Conference victories against Decatur Central (50-47) and Franklin (41-31). As a result, Whiteland (3-1) holds on to the No. 7 spot in this week’s Class 5A poll.
Fisher’s squad steps away from league action tonight at Class 4A No. 9 New Palestine (4-0).
The Dragons have surpassed the 40-point plateau in each of their outings, averaging 49.3 points a game. Aside from
being shut out by the Trojans, Whiteland has scored a total of 128 points in its three victories.
Like with any young team, the Warriors have been plagued by inconsistency in everything from the kicking game to offensive and defensive execution. Fisher has been pleased, however, with Whiteland’s ability to both make and deny big plays when it most needed to.
Whiteland holds the only 2-0 conference record thus far, with Plainfield next at 1-0. The Warriors’ next four games are all Mid-State affairs, as they host Martinsville, travel to Mooresville, return home against Plainfield and wrap up the regular season at Greenwood.
Plenty of opportunities await to improve and better define individual roles through sheer repetition.
Since Fisher became Whiteland’s coach in 2005, most of his teams have demonstrated a knack for getting better as the season progresses. In his first eight years the Warriors are 41-20 (.672) in games played on or after Sept. 14.
Individually, senior tailback Jeffrey Wooten is averaging 121.3 rushing yards per game and 8.5 a carry. Quarterback Donnie Richard throws for an average of 114.5 and has five touchdown passes, three being to junior wideout Isaiah Calaway.
Football seasons regardless of the level are marathons, not sprints. Fisher appreciates the progress made to date but knows the Warriors have more ground to cover.
“Early in the year you’re still trying to find out what you are and are looking for ways to win,” he said. “We’re still searching for how this team is going to win games. We’re learning who we can count on to make plays. Once we do that, I think we have a chance to be good.”